I am a sophomore, can I still apply? 

  • No. WISc is an enrichment program that students apply to before arriving at UW-Madison, and participate in throughout their undergraduate career. At this time only prospective first year students are eligible to apply to the WISc program.

I am very interested in WISc but I don’t think I will know by the application deadline if I want to attend UW-Madison. Can I still apply?

  • Yes. We understand that you may be considering many different schools as you complete your WISc application. You are encouraged to apply to the WISc program even if you are not completely sure will be attending UW in the fall. Out of courtesy to our review committee and to other applicants, however, we ask you let us know as soon as possible if at any point you do make a definitive decision to attend another school.

Is acceptance to the WISc program a binding commitment to attend UW-Madison?

  • No. Accepted students have until May 1 to accept or decline the invitation to join WISc. Out of courtesy to our review committee and to other applicants, however, we ask that if at any point you do make a definitive decision to attend another school that you let us know as soon as possible.

How and when will I know whether I’ve been accepted into the program?

  • Students will be contacted by email in early April with acceptance decisions.

Do I have to major in international studies or something similar to join the WISc program?

  • No! WISc students pursue a variety of majors and disciplines from across campus. Many of our students are studying public health, biology, chemistry, engineering, and many other fields. The range of academic interests and professional goals among our scholars is a signature feature of the program.

I have also been accepted to another campus program. Is it realistic to think I can participate in both of these programs given their time commitments?

  • In most cases yes! While we strongly encourage admitted students to carefully think through time commitments before joining the WISc program we have had several students who have successfully participated in WISc and other campus programs, including but not limited to: Letters and Sciences Honors Program, POSSE, Mercile J. Lee Scholars, WISE, and campus learning communities such as the ILC, MLC, etc. Students are encouraged to reach out to the WISc advisor early to discuss plans for successfully and realistically managing participation in multiple programs.

The information provided discusses monthly dinners and required first-year classes, but it also describes “other activities”. Could you give me an idea of what these other activities would entail?

  • Beyond the monthly dinners there will generally be two to three additional activities throughout the semester. For example, past students had the opportunity to privately visit the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies‘ “Evolving Landscapes: 100 Years of Change in Western China” exhibit accompanied by the photographer Yin Kaipu. Past fall activities have also included participation in the Wisconsin Book Festival and specially scheduled talks and lectures. Each year in January (after winter break) we hold a half-day retreat for all WISc students and faculty advisors. In the spring semester it is common for students to attend the Wisconsin Film Festival with members of our faculty and to join in discussing the film they see over coffee afterwards. These are all considered “required” events but there are also other “optional” events and opportunities for students to choose from if they wish.

What if I can’t make it to an event because of a scheduling conflict?

  • Students participate in WISc throughout their entire undergraduate career so it is likely that occasional scheduling conflicts will be inevitable. Most WISc activities will take place on Tuesday late afternoons/early evenings and we ask students to avoid scheduling other commitments at that time. Of course, this is not always possible, so if students must miss events we ask that they contact us ahead of time to let us know they will absent. We try to be flexible as much as possible, but if students begin to miss the majority of WISc events or if there are chronic absences then there is a possibility of being placed on probation or asked to leave the program.

As a WIScholar do I have to study abroad during a specific time or on a specific program?

  • Students in good standing and making satisfactory progress may use their WISc study abroad grants toward participation in any of the programs listed on the UW-Madison Study Abroad official website and for which students earn UW-Madison residence credits. While students are encouraged to make use of their short term travel grant (typically over the summer or winter-term) early in their undergraduate careers, this is not required. Use of the WISc travel grants may vary depending on the academic, professional, personal, and financial situations of different students.

I have taken an AP Spanish class. Would the credits from this class be counted as part of the requirements?

  • No. These courses would not be counted as filling the WISc language requirements. WISc students commit to taking at least 4 semesters of additional language courses while at UW-Madison. Many students use this as an opportunity to learn a new language or to develop deeper proficiency in a language they may have already begun. UW-Madison offers an outstanding array of language opportunities and EXCELLENT language departments! Learn more about UW-Madison’s many language offerings.

Is each student guaranteed two study abroad grants or must they compete for them?

  • Each student receives two study abroad grants provided they are in good standing with the program and have met the following program requirements:
    1. Regular attendance and participation in WISc events.
    2. Completion of IS212 (one-credit discussion section specifically for first-year WISc students) and an approved comparative global studies course.
    3. Completion of four or more semesters of language study.
  • As long as all program requirements are met students will be awarded grants to participate in both a short term (typically summer or winter inter-term) AND a long-term program (semester or year-long) in the following amounts:
    • $2500 grant to participate in a short-term study abroad program
    • AND $4000 grant for a semester-long OR $6000 for year-long study abroad experience.

Do the grants have to be used for studying abroad or can I use the funds for tuition, housing or other campus expenses?

  • At this time there is no additional financial funding or scholarships awarded to WIScholars beyond the funding to support participation in study abroad programs. In addition to regular dinners and activities students receive the benefits of mentoring, advising, and belonging to a globally minded and engaged campus community.